While cities like Los Angeles and Santa Barbara are perennial tourist destinations, there’s a growing list of reasons to visit the quaint beach town of Del Mar. Located a half-hour drive north of San Diego, its two-mile coastline boasts running paths and surf breaks along with hiking trails and panoramic views.
Del Mar’s restaurant scene is definitely worth checking out, whether you’re looking for a family-owned taqueria, a white tablecloth restaurant, or something in between.
Nestled in a scenic hillside, this contemporary French restaurant serves inspired takes on haute cuisine like duck à l’orange with pistachio and beets and sake-cured Kampachi with red radish and miso dressing. Diners can either sample the chef’s tasting menu or choose from the offerings to curate a four-course meal. There’s also an extensive wine list, showcasing top Californian vintages and lesser-known global varietals.
Head to this family-owned beachfront institution for coastal fare like guajillo-roasted fish with herb-citrus tabbouleh or an ahi poke bowl with sesame-shoyu dressing. Sip on a spicy cucumber or orange blossom margarita and save room for a slice of their hula pie, featuring macadamia nut ice cream piled on a chocolate cookie crust.
For some casual Mexican cuisine, try local favorite Casa Sol Y Mar. If the weather permits, grab one of the tables outside and pore through the menu, which offers dishes like tequila-lime shrimp, grilled salmon salad, and chicken-avocado tacos.
At Coastline, you can dine al fresco any time of the day. Start your morning with an egg-white frittata or gluten-free cinnamon roll waffle—all accompanied by a magnificent sea view. For dinner, begin with the cheese and charcuterie board or a little gem salad, then try one of their seasonal entrées like cioppino stew or polenta with short-rib meatballs.
Viewpoint’s 7,000-square-foot brewery is located on a lagoon with vistas of the ocean, bluffs, and fairgrounds. The indoor-outdoor restaurant features gastropub fare like burrata kale salad, tempeh-stuffed squash, and truffle fries. Wash down your meal with one of their brews, such as Experiment A, a hybrid of pale ale and Kölsch.
At this sleek restaurant, diners can overlook the Pacific while enjoying a bevy of fresh seafood. Start with rock shrimp ceviche or hamachi with grapefruit and ponzu, then move on to main courses like grilled swordfish with chile-roasted sweet potatoes and macadamia-crusted mahi mahi. If you want a more casual meal, its sister Pacifica Breeze Café serves breakfast and lunch options, such as an acai-pitaya bowl and salmon hash.